5/28/12

Star Trek: Asterisk "The Omega Glory"

Vital Information
Series: The Original Series
Episode: S02E23
Air Date: March 1, 1968
Written by: Gene Roddenberry
Directed by: Vincent McEveety

Premise
The Enterprise finds the U.S.S. Exeter orbiting the planet Omega IV, but abandoned. The ship's captain violates the Prime Directive. And this time it's not OK because it's not Kirk.

Review
When the Enterprise comes to Omega IV, they find the Exeter in orbit, but when they beam over they find that the entire crew has been reduced to a sort of crystalline substance. And then they find a message left by the ship's medical officer warning about the disease that reduced the crew to their condition. He said that if they're on board they're already infected. There is no hope except, maybe, to beam down to the planet. Why? Well, he tries to say, but then he dies. He only says that Captain Tracey is already down there...

They beam down and see some savage people being bullied by some iron-age type people. Obviously pre-warp, but they find that Captain Tracey has set himself as ruler over the iron-age Kohms who are in a constant war against the Yangs. Tracey says that the planet offers a natural immunity to the disease that killed his crew. And because of this (and probably because he'd gone insane from the loss of his crew) he violated the Prime Directive by giving the Kohms Federation technology for their war.
The face of the rebellion.
Bones quickly gets to work trying to figure out a cure to the disease. Meanwhile, Kirk tries to reverse the damage that had been done from Captain Tracey's take-over. While talking to Tracey he discovers the man has an ulterior motive. He plans to harness the planet's immunity powers to create a super-immunity to all disease and live for thousands of years, just as the Kohms do. When Tracey learns that Kirk means to stop him, he puts Kirk in jail with a Yang. After a bit of a scuffle with the Yang, Kirk learns that the Yangs worship freedom and show characteristics of Native Americans. They team up and escape, but the Yang knocks him out and runs away before he can get far. Seven hours and eight minutes later, he awakens and, with Spock's help, escapes himself.

Meanwhile, Bones has learned that both the disease and the immunity were the results of biological warfare on the planet from hundreds of years ago. The immunity to the disease takes hold after a few hours or days on the planet surface. The crew's mistake was beaming up to the ship too early. Which means the Kohm's longevity is just a natural evolution and Tracey's ambitions are all for naught. This infuriates Tracey and he ends up fighting with Kirk for a while. And then they're all captured by the Yangs.
If only Kirk could leap over this huge wall!
While in the custody of the Yangs, Kirk and Spock figure that the Yangs and the Kohms have close similarities to America and China of the 1900's. The Yangs are Yankees and the Kohms are Communists. Only they ended up fighting the biological war that we avoided. The Kohms won and the Yangs were forced into the hills and caves, adapting a Native American way of life. Their suspicions are confirmed when the Yangs walk in ceremoniously with a star-spangled banner. They start reciting the "holy words", which is a mangled variation of the Pledge of Allegiance.

And then Kasey plays the religious card by saying that the Enterprise crew have fallen from heaven and are some kind of devils. His proof is in how much Spock looks like a demon. The Yangs look up an ancient picture and, sure enough, he looks like a demon... So the Yangs challenge them. They ask Kirk to translate their holy texts, but the words are all garbled. In stead, Kirk plays to his strengths and says that good can overcome evil, therefore he should be able to knock out Captain Kasey.
He's totally gonna win, you guys.
Meanwhile, as the fight rages on, Spock reaches out telepathically to one of the female Yangs to use their communicators. When successful, she summons Sulu and a landing party to come help them out. Kirk wins anyway, but it was the thought that counts. Because he wins, the Yangs believe he is from God. They take out the holy words that can only be read by chiefs, but Kirk doesn't care, he grabs them out of the chief's hands and ends up reading the preamble to the United States Constitution. He tells everyone that those words apply to everyone or else they are useless. So the Yangs and the Kohms come together in peace and harmony, they all live happily ever after and learn a valuable lesson about freedom.

Overall Thoughts
This episode is a rather winding road. One thing lead to another and seemed to be driven forward by chance. But in the end it was a very patriotic episode. Rather fitting for today, methinks.